From May 14, 1940, 11 days of battle will follow one another, 11 days during which the small village of Stonne will change sides no less than 17 times! Against the 90,000 German soldiers and 300 tanks, there were 42,500 French soldiers and 130 tanks. Although at the end of the conflict, the German flag flew over the village of Stonne, this battle was nevertheless a French defensive victory.
Stonne, Montcornet, the French tanks in the battle. Ministry of the Armed Forces.
Indeed, the incredible robustness of the B1bis Renault tanks allowed the French to hold the position for 11 days, despite their strength being 50% lower than the Germans. For example, a single B1bis tank demolished no less than 13 German Panzer tanks in the village square, despite a total of 140 hits, the French armor resisted.
"The soldiers of the Wehrmacht always compared the hell of Stonne in 1940 to the hell of Verdun in 1916.
Dominique Lormier, The Battle of Stonne: Ardennes, May 1940, Paris, Perrin, 2010